The 4 Pines Brewing Company is a microbrewery established in 2008 in Manly, New South Wales. Founded by father-and-son surfers, the company adopts a decidedly local perspective on established international styles, producing an artisan selection that rarely suffers preconceptions. Tasting rated out of five stars

The Beers

Indian Sumer Ale ABV 4.2% IBU
As intended, this Indian summer ale was easy drinking, with an effervescent body and clean, refreshing mouth-feel, but no after taste. We thought we detected a hint of passionfruit, but otherwise saw it as a competitor to a mid-strength lager (the ABV was a surprise).
Our score **

Kolsch ABV 4.6% IBU 22
This German-style golden ale was true to colour and poured with a good head. The flavour was pleasantly savoury with aromas of lemon and lime and a malty nod. The beading was especially satisfying, with a clean and crisp finish.
Our score: ***

Reviewer’s Pick

American Amber Ale ABV 5.1% IBU 37
Our favourite of the bunch, this easy-drinking American amber ale presented true to pedigree. Opening with a good head and rich copper hue, we found it both malty and fruity on the palate with a pleasant, lingering bitterness. It didn’t pretend to be an IPA, and we appreciated its honesty.
Our score: ***

Pale Ale ABV 5.1% IBU 35
This American Pale Ale poured with a modest head and had a ruby tinge, but lacked the maturity of bottle fermentation. Flat, with little taste and no bitterness. The worst of the bunch.
Our score: *

In Season IPA ABV 6.3% IBU 67
The defining characteristic of the in-season IPA is that each batch, released in limited quantities twice per year, is made with seasonal hops. The batch we tasted featured Galaxy, Vic Secret, Enigma, Helga and Wilamette, all sourced fresh from the most recent Southern Hemisphere harvest. While conceptually intriguing and pouring with a thick, creamy head, it looked washed-out alongside the Amber Ale and neither the high alcohol content nor 67 IBUs were particularly evident. While this beer may fill a niche in the artisan market, an exemplary IPA it is not.
Our score: *

Hefeweizen ABV 5.2% IBU 18
Like the other 4 Pines offerings, the Hefeweizen also poured with a good head and challenged the conventions of the style. The banana esters were rather too strong, and upstaged the cloves which cowered in the background. The palate was sweet and the after-taste sour – not a welcome combination.
Our score: *

The Verdict
While we embrace the concept of artisan and crafted beers, there is risk to innovation. Occasionally 4 Pines gets the balance right, but there is a reason the classic styles prevail.

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